It wasn’t the typical scene of a pickup basketball game, but seemed fitting enough for Portland. These boys were playing Rigsketball, an annual basketball tournament between 32 local bands, with their disheveled undercut hairstyles and beards.
Complementing that were girls wearing black tees and band tees, with dyed hair for a pop of color. Heavy doom metal sounds coming from behind a van on the West Stage, courtesy of a group of high school boys called Saola, completed the scene on the first night of PDX Pop Now!
The free, all-ages music festival tipped off its 13th year in the Rose City Friday and continues through July 24.
As the city has diversified over the years, so has its music. Rocking out on two stages underneath the Hawthorne Bridge, attendees can experience a varied mix of psychedelic melodies to nostalgic ‘90s pop-punk to jazzy hip-hop to avant-garde synth pop to head-banging metal from more than 40 bands that make up the line-up.
PDX Pop Now! takes place at AudioCinema, adjacent to the hip neighborhoods of Southeast Portland. The food carts, beer garden and eclectic selection of music allow the modern-day hipster to thrive.
Past PDX Pop Now! lineups have included acts like Shy Girls, STRFKR and Blind Pilot, to name a few.
Mic Capes — who, along with Rasheed Jamal, recently spoke to State Of Wonder — closed out the first day of the festival, drawing crowds to the West Stage on Friday. Here’s who to watch on Saturday and Sunday.
Many attendees come to PDX Pop Now! for free music with no particular bands in mind, giving them the chance to drink in a load of new artists.
Sounds like the lo-fi garage-rock from Mr. Bones, easy-listening jazzy tunes from the Andrew Endres Collective, funky hip-hop from Speaker Minds, the soulful psychedelia from the Fur Coats and avant-garde synthpop from Antecessor highlight the second day of the festival.
The instrumental group 1939 Ensemble also returns to PDX Pop Now! with its jazzy melodies laid over experimental grooves of percussion and trumpet. Last year, the band came by the opbmusic studio to perform a live session.
End the weekend indulging in the catchy electronica from Coronation, grungy aesthetics merged with shoegaze electro-pop by Force Publique, the costumed, glittered-out funk group Lola Buzzkill, the provoking rhymes laid over catchy beats by Maze Koroma and the dreamy psychedelica and mysterious sounds of Cat Hoch.
Having returned from a summer tour with the Thermals, Summer Cannibals will close this year’s festival Sunday night at 9:20 on the West Stage. Integrating high energy and a sense of teen angst into their bubblegum punk rock style, the band rolls out head-banging sounds that keep you rockin’ all night long.
Catch their live session at opbmusic from early June following the release of their newest album “Full Of It.”
PDX Pop Now! also releases an annual compilation CD featuring local artists that you can stream or order online.
Most venues in Portland aren’t all-ages, so this is a great opportunity to check what’s new in the Portland music scene.